Adam Cohen – We Go Home review

Adam Cohen“My last album was about me finally claiming my belonging to a tradition and finding my voice within that tradition. My new album,” Adam Cohen states, “is about me raising my voice.”

We Go Home, Leonard Cohen’s son’s fifth album serves as a follow up to Like A Man, and although his career has been undoubtedly shadowed by that of his father’s (who wrote the original Hallelujah, if you’ve never heard of Leonard), he chose to record this album in settings familiar to him. The man himself says, “I knew I was painting a target on my back, making my album in the so-called homes of Leonard Cohen, but they’re my homes too. These are the walls that saw me grow up the most and that I needed to come back to. My muse is my home.”

The nylon-stringed guitar that accompanied Adam to fame leads the opening of the release, and beginning with simplistic Song Of Me And You, the narrative carries the track, only enhanced by simplistic strings and percussion, unusually setting a calm and controlled note for the beginning of the release. The second track, Too Real, keeps up the calm and romantic tone. The brutally honest lyrics, “You’re always so faithful / I’m a flake and flirt”, leave you slightly taken aback with how upfront the song is. Combined with a mellowed out backing, this track remains simplistic and undemanding, although the backing vocals in the close slightly overpower the lead’s voice.

Third track, the title song of the album, builds up tighter and in a more country and western style, with percussion picking up the pace and layered vocals adding another depth to the track, creating a country-single. The pace slows back down again with Put Your Bags Down, and although the tone tries to lift up in the choruses, it becomes apparent that either Adam doesn’t have the lungs to hold the power necessary, or he chooses not to. Towards the close of the track his voice begins to crack on some of the more difficult notes; arguably, this could be for effect, but if so, it doesn’t work brilliantly.

Fifth track So Much To Learn manages to cram a phenomenal amount of cliches in, although it’s soppy, sentimental tune gives you something to allow your musing thoughts to ride over. Uniform holds similar, soft vocals that for once do not serve as enticing, but more lacklustre. The chorus attempts to add a level of force into the track but again it feels slightly weak and halfhearted, and by next track, Love Is, it’s as though the lead vocalist has simply given up with the power struggle, and is allowing himself to be lead by the backing vocals. This creates an overly-soppy song, far away from the country and western beginnings that held more depth than simply trying too hard to be romantic.

For all my criticism of the vocal fragility, What Kind Of Woman has an initial verse with vocals too clunky and cumbersome, before a chorus that searches too hard for a rhyme. Fall Apart seems to aim for a mellowed-out sound, but it’d be inaccurate to say I was anything but bored. Swear I Was There takes on a rather “woe is me” approach, packed with metaphors, before closing Boats simply ends the piece.

After a few fairly strong tracks, the rest of this album all but disintegrates, which seems a great shame, as it’s not a lack in talent that causes the collapse.

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